He has remained a part of the Mariners family since he retired from baseball in 2005, whether it was on TV & Radio broadcasts, on the Mariners Caravan or at FanFest, but now Dan Wilson is officially back in a Mariners uniform as the Minor League Catching Coordinator.
In his new role, Dan will work with Mariners catchers at all levels, beginning during Spring Training and continuing throughout the minor league season. He will travel to each of the Mariners affiliates several times during the season to work with Seattle’s young catchers.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik echoed the thoughts of all Mariners fans:
“We are happy to have Dan, one of our former players, affiliated with us,” Zduriencik said. “His on-field experience and passion for the Mariners organization makes him a great fit in his new role with us. We are looking forward to Dan’s contributions as he spends hands-on time with our players.”
Wilson, 44, spent 14 seasons catching in the Majors, debuting with Cincinnati (1992-93) and spending the bulk of his career with the Mariners (1994-2005). He has caught more games (1,281) than any other player in Mariners history and was the starting catcher on every Mariners team to reach the post-season. Dan owns the Mariners career record for home runs by a catcher (88, including 2 inside-the-park homers), and the Club’s single-season records for catchers RBI (83, 1996) and home runs (18, 1996).
Dan ended his career with a .995 fielding percentage, at the time the highest for any catcher in American League history, and the sixth-highest in Major League history. Wilson was an American League All-Star in 1996, and was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2012.
In addition to his on-field accomplishments Dan, and his family, have played an active philanthropic role in the Seattle community. Dan and his wife, Annie, were the 2012-2013 United Way of King County annual campaign co-chairs, and have long supported First Place School, the adoption agency All God’s Children International and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Mariners outfield prospect Stefen Romero wasn’t in the starting lineup for the West squad in the 2013 Arizona Fall League All-Star game, but that didn’t stop him from having a great performance. Romero entered the game in the 6th inning and went 2-for-2 with 2 home runs (both to the opposite field) with 3 RBI.
In a story by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, Romero talked about his big performance.
“I was just trying square the ball up,” said Romero, who helped the West beat the East, 9-2. “Coming in, I knew we were up early. I felt like they were going to try to get ahead of me early. Luckily, my first at-bat, I jumped on a fastball right away up in the zone. Luckily, it went out, a wall-scraper. Second at-bat, I just wanted to be a little more patient. Fortunately, he got a slider up and I did the same thing.”
Here is a video from MLB.com of Romero’s home runs:
The Mariners Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers, accomplished something last night that not many teams have ever done. The Rainiers recorded 30 hits and scored 25 runs en route to a 25-6 win over Colorado Springs on Wednesday night. The 25 runs scored are the most since the Rainiers became affiliated with the Mariners in 1995. The previous high was 24 runs scored on June 6, 2011 at Tucson. The 30 hits is also a Rainiers-era franchise record, besting the previous hit of 25 on June 28, 2004 at Sacramento. The Rainiers recorded at least 2 runs in each of the first 7.0 inning and 5-or-more runs in 3 different innings. Tacoma jumped out to an early lead with 6 runs in the first inning and capped off the evening with a 7-run 7th inning. With the win the Rainiers recorded their 33rd win of the season and moved 1.5 games ahead of Colorado Springs in the Pacific League Northern Division. With the win last night, Tacoma moved 12 games over .500 for the first time since August 1, 2010.
Since 2005, the Rainiers are the 5th minor league team to score at least 25 runs and record at least 30 hits in a game. The Rainiers join the Visalia Rawhide in the California League (5/15/12 at High Desert, 26 runs, 31 hits), Lake Elsinore in the California League (6/28/09 at High Desert, 33 runs, 32 hits), Vaqueros Laguna in the Mexican League (7/5/08 at Pericos de Puebla, 30 runs, 30 hits) and Diablos Rojos del Mexico in the Mexican League (4/3/07 vs. Potros de Tijuana, 26 runs, 31 hits) as the only minor league teams to accomplish this feat in the last 8 seasons.
Four Rainiers recorded at least 4 hits, and all 9 players in the starting lineup turned in multi-hit outings. CF Abe Almonte (6×6, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB), who was acquired from the New York Yankees in exchange for RHP Shawn Kelley during Spring Training, recorded 6 singles and became the first Rainiers player to collect 6 hits in a single game since Jerry Owens on August 25, 2009 at Fresno. He is one of only 3 minor league players to record at 6 hits in a game this season, joining Alan Sanchez of Oaxaca in the Mexican League (6×8, 5 R, 2 RBI, BB – 5/9/13 vs. Carmen) and Moises Sierra with Buffalo in the International League (6×6, 5 R, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI – 4/18/13 at Syracuse). Almonte is batting .515 (17×33) with 9 runs scored, 2 doubles, 10 RBI, 5 walks and 3 stolen base in his first 12 games with Tacoma since being promoted from AA Jackson on May 13.
2B Dustin Ackley (5×6, 4 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB) reached base in 7 of 8 plate appearances, while LF/RF Eric Thames (4×7, R, 2B, 2 RBI) and 3B Nate Tenbrink (4×6, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB) each recorded 4 hits and reached base safely 5 times. Thames joined SS Brad Miller (3×7, 3 R, 2B, HR, 6 RBI) driving in a team-high 6 runs. Miller hit his first Triple-A home run with a 3-run blast in the 6th inning.
Starter Andrew Carraway (6.0,6,2,2,3,4,HR) recorded his 6th win of the season, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits in 6.0 innings. Carraway is 6-0 with a 2.47 ERA (15 ER, 54.2 IP) with 18 walks and 44 strikeouts in his last 9 starts. He has recorded 7 quality starts this season, including one in 6 of his last 7 starts.
Rainiers starting lineup on 5/29 at Colorado Springs:
- Dustin Ackley – 2B (5×6, 4 R, HR, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB)
- Franklin Gutierrez –RF (2×6, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, BB)
- Eric Thames – LF/RF (4×7, R, 2B, 6 RBI)
- Stefen Romero – DH (2×7, R, 2B, 2 RBI)
- Jesus Montero – C (2×5, 3 R, BB)
- Nate Tenbrink – 3B (4×6, 4 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB0
- Scott Savastano – 1B (2×6, 3 R, 2B, BB)
- Brad Miller – SS (3×7, 3 R, 2B, HR, 6 RBI)
- Abe Almonte – CF (6×6, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB)
The Rainiers are currently batting .273 (516×1890) with 323 runs scored, 103 doubles, 18 triples, 61 home runs and 302 RBI in 54 games this season. Tacoma currently leads the PCL in runs scored, home runs, RBI, while also ranking 3rd in the league in total bases (838) and 4th in walks (212) and in slugging percentage (.443).
The Rainiers 33 win this season are currently tied for the 4th-most in the minor leagues this season: 1.) Fort Myers (37-14), 2.) Indianapolis (35-19), 3.) South Bend (34-16) and 4.) Tacoma (33-21), San Jose (33-19), Norfolk (33-20), Birmingham (33-19) and Durham (33-20).
Shortstop Carlos Triunfel recorded 5 hits, including hitting for the cycle as AAA Tacoma shutout Fresno 8-0 on Wednesday night. Singling on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning, Triunfel completed Tacoma’s first cycle since Raul Ibañez accomplished the feat on Aug. 19, 1997 vs. Albuquerque. He also is the first player in the Pacific Coast League to cycle since Nashville’s Caleb Gindl on July 10, 2011, also against Albuquerque.
Triunfel achieved the act in his first 4 at-bats of the game. He tripled with one out in the first inning, led off the bottom of the third with a double, then homered in the fourth. He completed the cycle in the fifth inning after lining a single down the right field line. Triunfel snapped an 0-for-20 stretch coming into the game and was the first Rainiers player since Michael Saunders on July 30, 2011 vs. Las Vegas to record 5 hits in a game.
In 2012 the Mariners had two minor league farmhands hit for the cycle. INF Stefen Romero on May 22 vs. Lancaster and OF Gabriel Guerrero hit for the cycle in the Dominican Summer League on June 28 vs. the DSL Royals.
Triunfel, 23, was originally selected as a non-drafted International Free agent on Sept. 23, 2006. He made his Major League debut with Seattle on Sept. 7, 2012 vs. Oakland and was the youngest position player to appear in a game with Seattle last season (22 years, 193 days old). In 7 seasons in the Mariners minor league system, Triunfel hit .275 (653×2375) with 312 runs scored, 116 doubles, 15 triples, 32 home runs and 247 RBI in 621 career games.
Here is a link to MiLB.com with video of Triunfel completing the cycle.
In 2012 the Mariners nine minor league affiliated put together one of the best seasons in club history, combing for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins (496) and winning percentage (.550), while also setting a new record for most win in a single season my any organization. Various publications have rated the Mariners farm systems as one of the best in baseball.
The Mariners looks to continue their winning ways throughout the minor leagues as well as get players ready to make the jump to the Major League level. The Mariners triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers roster boasts four of the top five prospects in the Mariners farm system, as ranked by Baseball America. Catcher Mike Zunino (No. 1), pitchers Danny Hultzen (No. 3) and James Paxton (No. 4), and infielder Nick Franklin (No. 5) all sit atop BA’s list entering the 2013 season.
Catcher Mike Zunino is off to a hot start with Tacoma this season. In 6 games with the Rainiers, Zunino is batting .385 (10×26) with 7 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 17 RBI. He currently leads the Minor Leagues with 17 RBI, T1st with 8 extra-base hits, while ranking as one of only 6 players in the Minor Leagues to have hit at least 4 home runs this season. The 2012 first round draft pick ranks 2nd in the PCL in extra-base hits (8) and slugging percentage (1.038), while ranking 3rd with 27 total bases. Zunino became the first Rainiers player since second baseman Dustin Ackley (7/15/10 at Reno) to have his first triple-A hit go for a home run on April 4 at Fresno.
LH Danny Hultzen has earned wins in each of his first two starts with the Rainiers, going 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA (3 ER, 11.0 IP). He has limited opponents to a .167 (7×42) average, while walking 3 and striking out 14. His 14 strikeouts currently lead all Mariners farmhands, while ranking 3rd overall in the Pacific Coast League.
OF Eric Thames is one of 6 players in the PCL to hit safely in each of the first 8 games. He is currently batting .424 (14×33) with 5 runs scored, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base and 4 walks. Thames ranks 11th in the league in average, and he is tied for the team lead with 4 multi-hit games.
The Rainiers open the home portion of their schedule tonight with a four-game series against the Salt Lake City Bees at Cheney Stadium. Tonight’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. PT with LH James Paxton (0-0, 4.50) making his 2nd career triple-A start and first at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma is currently 5-3 and trails Salt Lake by one game PCL Northern Division.
You can track all of our minor league affiliates via our daily minor league report via this blog (on the sidebar). The report highlights the previous days minor league highlights, including box scores and updated team statistics. Here is the report that captured the events from the 2013 Minor League Opening Day, and here is video clip of Mike Zunino’s first Triple-A home run.
Mariners Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn was already impressed with the amount of athleticism he was saw with some of the minor league players, and that was just during physicals.
“Everyone came into Mini Camp in great shape and ready to play,” Gwynn said. “It was nice to finally get started today and see everyone in action.”
The Mariners have conducted a winter program for their minor league players for years, but this is the fourth year for a structured mini-camp that features 36 of the organizations top prospects that are not already in Major League camp. The players went through physicals yesterday, with the first workout today and running through March 1 at the Peoria Sports Complex.
Besides the basics on the field, Mini Camp players also focus on off-field instruction. From visiting local elementary schools and hospitals, players will also receive nutrition and etiquette tips.
Mini Camp is designed to take the best and brightest of the farm system, accelerate their Major League arrival and aid acclimation to what they will encounter when they get there. Mini Camp is similar to instructional league in fall, but in the spring guys are fresh and what they learn can carry on into the season.
Nine players, including pitchers Brandon Maurer, Andrew Carraway, Jonathan Arias, Carson Smith, Carter Capps and Brian Moran, catcher John Hicks and infielders Brad Miller and Stefen Romero, each participated in Mini Camp last year and this year were invited to Major League camp.
“Last year was my first time in Spring Training, so being able to get here a few weeks early and get accumulated during mini-camp was a huge help,” shortstop Brad Miller said. “The best part was being able to be a backup during the Major League games and getting to see how everyone prepared for a game.”
This year Miller came to camp looking to continue his success from his first full season in the minor leagues in 2012.
“It is awesome to have this opportunity in Major League camp,” Miller said. “Being able to chat with veteran players like Raul Ibañez and players that were in my position just a short time ago like Kyle Seager have been a huge influence on me so far.”
This is one of the youngest groups of prospects that has comprised Mini Camp with 18 of the 36 players either 20-years-old or younger, while 17 players were drafted or signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2012. At 16-years-old left-handed pitcher Luiz Gohara, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Brazil in 2012 is the youngest player in camp.
Among players taking part in the mini-camp are highly regarded prospects that include pitchers Edwin Diaz and Tyler Pike, catcher Tyler Marlette, infielders Joe DeCarlo and Timmy Lopes and outfielders Gabby Guerrero and Dario Pizzano. After being acquired last week from the New York Yankees in exchange for pitcher Shawn Kelley, outfielder Abraham Almonte has arrived in Peoria and is participating in Mini Camp as well.
Left-handed pitcher Elias Roenis, catchers Marcus Littlewood and Tyler Marlette, infielders Martin Peguero and Steven Proscia and outfielders Phillips Castillo and Guillermo Pimentel are each participating in their second mini-camp.
We have already let you know that a trio of Mariners have been named to MLB.com’s Top Prospects Positional Rankings, as Taijuan Walker was ranked the No. 2 right-handed pitcher, and Danny Hultzen (#2) and James Paxton (#5) were among the top left-handed pitchers.
Here is what MLB.com prospect guru Jonathan Mayo had to say about Zunino and Franklin:
2. Mike Zunino, Mariners: After being drafted third overall in 2012, Zunino moved quickly through the Minors as he reached Double-A, where he hit for average and power and also drew a good number of walks in his summer debut. The winner of the 2012 Golden Spikes Award, as well as the Johnny Bench and Dick Howser Awards following his junior season at Florida, Zunino has drawn praise for his defense and his ability to run a pitching staff. Known to be a natural leader, Zunino will be trusted to catch a young and exciting Seattle rotation and work his way toward batting in the middle of the lineup.
6. Nick Franklin, Mariners: A 20-20 season in 2010 set the bar high for this 2009 first-round pick, and while he dealt with injuries that set him back in 2011, he bounced back with a much more solid season in 2012. A two-time Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game participant, Franklin is a very good athlete who has the chance to hit for some power and steal some bases, even if he doesn’t approach the numbers of that first full season again. He’s played both shortstop and second base and some see his long-term future on the right side of the diamond, though the Mariners are committed to him playing shortstop for now.
• Right-handed pitchers | List
• Left-handed pitchers | List
• Catchers | List
• Shortstops | List
• Third basemen | List
• Jan. 26 – Second basemen
• Jan. 27 – First basemen
• Jan. 28 – Outfielders
• Jan. 29 – Top 100 Prospects
Mariners pitchers Danny Hultzen and James Paxton have both been named among the top 5 left-handed pitching prospects heading into the 2013 season. Hultzen checked in at No. 2 on the list, while Paxton was No. 5 in the annual MLB.com Prospect Position Rankings.
Here is what MLB.com prospect guru Jonathan Mayo had to say about Hultzen and Paxton:
2. Danny Hultzen, Mariners: Hultzen signed an $8.5 million Major League contract after being picked second in the 2011 Draft by Seattle. Thought to be an advanced college pitcher who could move up quickly, he’s done just that, reaching Triple-A in his first season of pro ball. A 2012 Futures Game participant, the lefty out of the University of Virginia dominated in Double-A but then had serious control issues in Triple-A. If he can fix those problems – and he was known as a command guy coming out of college – his three-pitch mix should work nicely in the big leagues.
5. James Paxton, Mariners: Paxton was taken in the fourth round in the 2010 Draft by Seattle, though he didn’t sign until March 2011. He reached Double-A that season and spent all of 2012 at that level. A 2011 Futures Gamer and 2012 Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game participant, there has never been any question about the Canadian’s pure power stuff, especially his fastball and breaking ball. That’s allowed him to strike out more than 10.5 per nine innings in two years in the Minors. Some thought he might eventually end up in the bullpen, but an improved changeup and better command could make him a formidable starter.
Here is a video clip from MLB.com featuring Hultzen:
Hultzen and Paxton join RHP Taijuan Walker, who was listed as the No. 2 right-handed pitching prospect. The full list of positional prospect rankings and their release dates are below:
• Right-handed pitchers
• Left-handed pitchers
• Jan. 23 – Catchers
• Jan. 24 – Shortstops
• Jan. 25 – Third Basemen
• Jan. 26 – Second basemen
• Jan. 27 – First basemen
• Jan. 28 – Outfielders
• Jan. 29 – Top 100 Prospects